A global dataset of present-day oceanic crustal age and seafloor spreading parameters

Abstract: We present an updated oceanic crustal age grid and a set of complementary grids including spreading rate, asymmetry, direction and obliquity. Our dataset is based on a selected set of magnetic anomaly identifications and the plate tectonic model of Müller et al. (2019). We find the mean age of oceanic crust is 64.2 Myrs, … Read more…

Kinematic and geodynamic evolution of the Isthmus of Panama region: Implications for Central American Seaway closure

Abstract: A major topic of debate in Earth and climate science surrounds the timing of closure of the Central American Seaway. While it is clear that the gateway was closed by ~2.8 Ma, recent studies based on geological and marine molecular evidence have suggested an earlier closing time of early to mid-Miocene. Here, we examine … Read more…

Sea level fluctuations driven by changes in global ocean basin volume following supercontinent break-up

Abstract: Long-term variations in eustatic sea level in an ice-free world, which existed through most of the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic eras, are partly driven by changes in the volume of ocean basins. Previous studies have determined ocean basin volume changes from plate tectonic reconstructions since the Mesozoic; however, these studies have not considered a … Read more…

A Quantitative Tomotectonic Plate Reconstruction of Western North America and the Eastern Pacific Basin

Abstract: Plate reconstructions since the breakup of Pangaea are mostly based on the preserved spreading history of ocean basins, within absolute reference frames that are constrained by a combination of age-progressive hotspot tracks and palaeomagnetic data. The evolution of destructive plate margins is difficult to constrain from surface observations as much of the evidence has … Read more…

GPlates x Digital Directory: re-linking people with earth system science in an opportune moment of pause

COVID-19 has stimulated both major behavioural change during lockdown; and new thoughts, experiments and even dreams as many of our human-created systems have come to a raging halt. As the traffic dims, we have the opportunity to ‘remind ourselves that we are embedded in a more-than-human world — and have some fun along the way … Read more…

Paper in Geological Society London Memoirs: Geodynamics of the SW Pacific: a brief review and relations with New Caledonian geology

A book chapter in: New Caledonia: Geology, Geodynamic Evolution and Mineral Resources. Geological Society, London, Memoirs, 51, 13–26, https://doi.org/10.1144/M51-2018-5 has finally been published. The book chapter, which gives a brief overview of the geodynamics of New Caledonia, was a collaboration between colleagues from New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and France. Abstract below: The SW Pacific … Read more…

EarthByte Honours and Masters Projects 2020

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EarthByte has now released a list of Honours/Masters projects to be offered in 2020. These projects are outlined below. We can also tailor projects to your interests. Feel free to contact us by clicking the supervisor links below. Project Title Supervisor(s) How climate and subsidence control the sedimentation along the Norwegian Margin? Claire Mallard , … Read more…

Postgraduate opportunities with the EarthByte Group

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The EarthByte research group is known for pursuing open innovation, involving the collaborative development of open-source paleogeographic information system software as well as global digital data sets made available under a creative commons license. One of the fundamental aims of the EarthByte Group is geodata synthesis through space and time, assimilating the wealth of disparate … Read more…

How Earth’s continents became twisted and contorted over millions of years

Dietmar Muller, Maria Seton and Sabin Zahirovic published an article in The Conversation on How Earth’s continents became twisted and contorted over millions of years based on their recently published paper in Tectonics. Classical plate tectonic theory was developed in the 1960s. It proposed that the outer layer of our planet is made up of a small number of rigid … Read more…

GPlates-in-schools!

Maria Seton attended Marist College North Shore (Sydney) earlier this week and gave a presentation on “computerised simulations and models of the Earth’s geological history” to a keen group of senior science students. Part of this presentation involved leading a hands-on GPlates activity with the students (see photo). It was a hit and seeing plate … Read more…

Magma production along the Lord Howe Seamount Chain, northern Zealandia

Citation: Seton, M, Williams, S.E., Mortimer, N., Meffre, S., Micklethwaite, S., Zahirovic, S., 2019, Magma production along the Lord Howe Seamount Chain, northern Zealandia, Geological Magazine, 1-13, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0016756818000912 Abstract: One of the world’s most notable intraplate volcanic regions lies on the eastern Australian plate and includes two age-progressive trails offshore (Tasmantid and Lord Howe seamount chains) and the … Read more…

“How we traced the underwater volcanic ancestry of Lord Howe Island” published this week in The Conversation

Maria Seton, Simon Williams and Nick Mortimer (GNS Science) published an article in The Conversation on the underwater volcanic ancestry of Lord Howe Island based on their recently published paper in Geological Magazine.   “Lord Howe Island is a beautiful and incredibly isolated world heritage site some 600km off the coast of New South Wales, lauded for … Read more…

Geodynamic reconstruction of an accreted Cretaceous back-arc basin in the Northern Andes

Abstract A complex history of subduction, back-arc basin formation, terrane accretion and transpressional shearing characterizes the evolution of the Caribbean and northern South American margin since Jurassic times. Quantitative plate tectonic reconstructions of the area do not include Jurassic-Cretaceous back-arc terranes of which there are both geological and geophysical observations. We developed a revised plate … Read more…

EarthByte Honours and Masters Projects 2019

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EarthByte has now released a list of Honours/Masters projects to be offered in 2019. These projects are outlined below. Project Title Supervisor(s) How is landscape complexity driving biodiversity over geological time scales? Tristan Salles & Patrice Rey How well are tectonic and climatic signals preserved in the stratigraphic record? Tristan Salles & Claire Mallard Vertical motions … Read more…

Tectonic evolution and deep mantle structure of the eastern Tethys since the latest Jurassic

Sabin Zahirovic, Kara J. Matthews, Nicolas Flament, R. Dietmar Müller, Kevin C. Hill, Maria Seton, Michael Gurnis Earth-Science Reviews Citation: Zahirovic, S., Matthews, K.J., Flament, N., Müller, R.D., Hill, K.C., Seton, M. and Gurnis, M., 2016, Tectonic evolution and deep mantle structure of the eastern Tethys since the latest Jurassic, Earth Science Reviews, 162, 293-337. The … Read more…

Regional volcanism of northern Zealandia: post-Gondwana break-up magmatism on an extended, submerged continent

Abstract Abstract: Volcanism of Late Cretaceous–Miocene age is more widespread across the Zealandia continent than previously recognized. New age and geochemical information from widely spaced northern Zealandia seafloor samples can be related to three volcanotectonic regimes: (1) age-progressive, hotspot-style, low-K, alkali-basalt-dominated volcanism in the Lord Howe Seamount Chain. The northern end of the chain (c. … Read more…

No Change in Southern Ocean Circulation in the Indian Ocean From the Eocene Through Late Oligocene

Author List: Nicky M. Wright , Howie D. Scher , Maria Seton , Claire E. Huck , and Brian D. Duggan Citation: Wright, N. M., Scher, H. D., Seton, M., Huck, C. E., & Duggan, B. D. (2018). No change in Southern Ocean circulation in the Indian Ocean from the Eocene through late Oligocene. Paleoceanography … Read more…

RV Investigator voyage funded!

Congratulations to EarthByters Maria Seton (applicant) and Simon Williams, Jo Whittaker (Chief Scientist, UTas) and the rest of the team for their successful application for ship time on Australia’s national marine vessel, the RV Investigator! The 28 day voyage will set sail in August 2019 to investigate hotspot dynamics in the Coral Sea. One of … Read more…

EarthByte Honours and Masters Projects 2018

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EarthByte has now released a list of Honours/Masters projects to be offered in 2018. These projects are outlined below. Project Title Supervisor(s) Dynamic Earth models, landscape dynamics and basin evolution in Australasia Dietmar Müller, Sabin Zahirovic, Tristan Salles, Rohit Chandra, Sally Cripps (Centre for Translational Data Science) Incorporating modern plate tectonic reconstructions into box models of the deep-time deep-Earth … Read more…

The Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

The Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences was selected for the 2017 Mary B. Ansari Best Geoscience Research Resource Work Award of The Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). The formal award will be given at the GSA 2017 conference in October in Seattle/USA. EarthByters Dietmar Muller and Maria Seton contributed two chapters on “Paleophysiography of Ocean Basins” and “Plate Motion”. This Encyclopedia … Read more…

Tectonic speed limits from plate kinematic reconstructions

Abstract The motion of plates and continents on the planet’s surface are a manifestation of long-term mantle convection and plate tectonics. Present-day plate velocities provide a snapshot of this ongoing process, and have been used to infer controlling factors on the speeds of plates and continents. However, present-day velocities do not capture plate behaviour over … Read more…

Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent

ZealandiaA paper published in GSA Today, Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent, by Nick Mortimer and colleagues, including EarthByte’s Dr Maria Seton, has gone viral over the last few days. In the paper, researchers have for the first time clearly defined Zealandia, a continent that includes New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Lord Howe and Norfold Islands, that is today 94% submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. According to GSA Today’s editors, the article is “by a long shot” their most downloaded article ever. Picked up by hundreds of media outlets worldwide, the findings of the paper has reached an estimated 720 million readers!

You can download the paper here. … Read more…

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Global plate boundary evolution and kinematics since the late Paleozoic

Matthews++_SummaryFigCitation

Matthews, K.J., Maloney, K.T., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Seton, M., and Müller, R.D. (2016). Global plate boundary evolution and kinematics since the late Paleozoic, Global and Planetary Change, 146, 226-250. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2016.10.002

Abstract

Many aspects of deep-time Earth System models, including mantle convection, paleoclimatology, paleobiogeography and the deep Earth carbon cycle, require high-resolution plate models that include the evolution of the mosaic of plate boundaries through time. We present the first continuous late Paleozoic to present-day global plate model with evolving plate boundaries, building on and extending two previously published models for the late Paleozoic (410–250 Ma) and Mesozoic-Cenozoic (230–0 Ma). We ensure continuity during the 250–230 Ma transition period between the two models, update the absolute reference frame of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic model and add a new Paleozoic reconstruction for the Baltica-derived Alexander Terrane, now accreted to western North America. This 410–0 Ma open access model provides a framework for deep-time whole Earth modelling and acts as a base for future extensions and refinement.

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Large fluctuations of shallow seas in low-lying Southeast Asia driven by mantle flow

Author List: Sabin Zahirovic, Nicolas Flament, Dietmar Müller, Maria Seton, Mike Gurnis. Citation: Zahirovic, S., Flament, N., Müller, R.D., Seton, M., and Gurnis, M. (2016). Large fluctuations of shallow seas in low-lying Southeast Asia driven by mantle flow. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. doi:10.1002/2016GC006434 The Sundaland continental promontory, as the core of Southeast Asia, is one of the lowest lying … Read more…

Ocean Basin Evolution and Global-Scale Plate Reorganization Events Since Pangea Breakup

Author List: Dietmar Müller, Maria Seton, Sabin Zahirovic, Simon Williams, Kara Matthews, Nicky Wright, Grace Shephard, Kayla Maloney, Nicholas Barnett-Moore, Maral Hosseinpour, Dan Bower and John Cannon. Citation: Müller, R.D., Seton, M., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Matthews, K.J., Wright, N.M., Shephard, G.E., Maloney, K.T., Barnett-Moore, N., Hosseinpour, M., Bower, D.J., & Cannon, J. (2016). Ocean Basin Evolution and … Read more…

Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates

Author List: Claire Mallard, Nicolas Coltice, Maria Seton, Dietmar Müller and Paul Tackley Citation: Mallard, C., Coltice, N., Seton, M., Müller, R. D. & Tackley, P. J. (2016). Subduction controls the distribution and fragmentation of Earth’s tectonic plates. Nature, 535, 140-143. doi:10.1038/nature17992 Abstract: Volcanic hotspot tracks featuring linear progressions in the age of volcanism are typical surface expressions of plate … Read more…

Solving Earth’s giant jigsaw puzzle of tectonic plates

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Earth’s plate tesselation through time (150 Myr ago to present)

Plate tectonics drives earthquakes and volcanism, forms precious mineral deposits and controls the planet’s long-term carbon cycle.   But why do we have just a few large plates, and many tiny plates?  Does it matter? These questions have now been answered in a French-Swiss-Australian collaborative paper led by PhD student Claire Mallard at the Univ. Lyon, published on 15 June 2016 in the journal Nature. The paper includes Nicolas Coltice (Lyon), EarthByters Dietmar Müller and Maria Seton, and Paul Tackley (ETH). 

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Tectonic evolution of Western Tethys from Jurassic to present day: coupling geological and geophysical data with seismic tomography models

Author List: Maral Hosseinpour, Simon Williams, Maria Seton, Nicholas Barnett-Moore and Dietmar Müller Citation: Hosseinpour, M., Williams, S., Seton, M., Barnett-Moore, N., and Müller, R.D. (2016). Tectonic evolution of Western Tethys from Jurassic to present day: coupling geological and geophysical data with seismic tomography models. International Geology Review 58 (13): 1616–1645. doi:10.1080/00206814.2016.1183146 Abstract: The geodynamic evolution of the … Read more…

PLOS ONE – The GPlates Portal: Cloud-Based Interactive 3D Visualization of Global Geophysical and Geological Data in a Web Browser

Author List: Dietmar Müller, Xiaodong Qin, David Sandwell, Adriana Dutkiewicz, Simon Williams, Nicolas Flament, Stefan Maus, Maria Seton Citation: Müller, R. D., Qin, X., Sandwell, D. T., Dutkiewicz, A., Williams, S. E., Flament, N., Maus, S., & Seton, M. (2016). The GPlates Portal: Cloud-Based Interactive 3D Visualization of Global Geophysical and Geological Data in a Web Browser. … Read more…